Better than it looked, insists Leclerc


Charles Leclerc claims that Ferrari's performance in Hungary belies the true ability of the SF-23.

Coming off the back of a 9th and 10th at Silverstone, 7th and 8th at the Hungaroring hardly inspires confidence, however Leclerc says otherwise, citing a difficult first pit stop and a time penalty for speeding in the pitlane.

"The pit stop was quite slow and we had a five seconds penalty for speeding in the pit lane, so it's again a weekend that is difficult," he admitted.

"It's frustrating overall," he added. "Today I feel like the result is much worse than what it felt like. When you are feeling like you are doing a good job with a car you have, nobody really notices it. And whenever you are doing a bad job, everybody notices it.

"The first stint felt pretty good. I was quite happy with my pace, we were managing things really well and keeping up with the cars ahead. Then with the slow stop it really put us on the back foot being behind Lance.

"I had to push to recover some positions, then we were with Carlos and we lost a bit of time there. The penalty we got after the second stop was another thing that made things more difficult, so all in all, it wasn't a great day.

"Then in the third stint I pushed again and there again the car felt quite okay. So I feel like the result looks worse than what it actually is, but it's clear that compared to Lando especially we are still behind.

"We are on the back foot," he admitted, "and it's been confirmed since the last three weekends, so there's a lot of work to do again."

However, the Monegasque's problems didn't end with slow pit stops, DRS trains and penalties.

"I had no water," he revealed. "Just before the start I realised that the tube was too short so I couldn't reach the water, so it was really frustrating.

"We also had a lot of problems with the radio," he added. "One out of four words is not understood by an engineer because there's been problems with our radio for three or four races, so we need to fix that."

Indeed, Leclerc was at pains to make clear that if his radio calls sounded angry and aggressive this was not the case.

"Obviously my tone of voice is quite high because I need to make myself heard," he said, "I just wanted to make sure that they didn't understand me wrong."

"He lost around seven seconds at the pit stop, which was a massive delay, because of an issue with a wheel-gun," confirmed team boss, Frederic Vasseur. "This also put him in traffic. Then there was also the five second pit lane speeding penalty.

"We showed we had the potential on Friday, but then we did not build on it for Saturday or today in the race," he added. "I have the feeling that we are not that far off the pace in terms of performance, but we did not put everything together over the whole weekend."

Check out our Sunday gallery from the Hungaroring here.

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Published: 24/07/2023
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